Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mind Your Language & Mindef

The Star has done a fabulous job for highlighting amusing English translation on several government websites. Mindef has responded by blaming it on the Google Translate rather than the ineptness and sloppiness of its own web administrators and content writers.


The ministry's website had published translations such as “clothes that poke eye”, a literal translation of pakaian yang menjolok mata, which in actual fact means revealing clothes in Bahasa Malaysia.


Others included “collared shirts and tight Malay civet berbutang three”, which, in Malay, is berkolar baju Melayu cekak musang berbutang tiga.


Another was the brief summary of the ministry's history on the website, which read: “After the withdrawal of British army, the Malaysian Government take drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat”.


Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should learn quickly that not everything can be 'automated'. Language is not one of them. The minister should review his ministry's recruitment process and employ those who are really proficient in the English language or the very least employ those who can show some initiative to do any task right.


Yes, this is very embarrassing not only to Mindef but also to the government. 

6 comments:

conscience said...

The English standard of Malaysians started to deteriorate after the govt. abolished English medium schools in the early 70s. Who should take responsibility if not the then education minister? After one generation was sacrificed, the govt is now attempting to undo the damage? Well, unfortunately language is not a subject you can learn by hard and master within a day or two.
Sad that when education is politicised, our country and our children suffer whilst policy makers happily and merrily send their children overseas for better education.

Leithaisor said...

I think the news about the poke-eye English used by the MoD website actually broke via Tweeter and Facebook on 5th of January. "Uppercaise" blogged about it on that day. Indeed, as fas as I can see, his was the first report on the news sites and blogs that I visit.

See:
Everyone's laughing at Mindef "poke eye" dress code (with civets)
THU 2012-JAN-5 @ MYT 15:31:03 PM
http://uppercaise.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/everyones-laughing-at-mindef-poke-eye-dress-code-with-civets-2/

The next day, I came across reports in Malaysian Insider and The Star

When you can't defend the Ministry of Defence - Erna Mahyuni
January 06, 2012
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/litee/sideviews/article/when-you-cant-defend-the-ministry-of-defence-erna-mahyuni/

All abuzz over 'Ethical Clothing'
Friday January 6, 2012
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/1/6/nation/10212570&sec=nation

Other news sites and blogs likely had it then too. And the issue has been covered by various sites and blogs since.

So perhaps The Star does not quiote deserve your "fabulous job" praise..

Indeed, one related thought provoking article is this one:

Umno destroyed the education system: The rich can go overseas
but what about the poor?
Written by Moaz Nair, Malaysia Chronicle
Monday, 09 January 2012 19:59
http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=25949:umno-destroyed-the-education-system-the-rich-can-go-overseas-but-what-about-the-poor?&Itemid=2

And aside from the embarassment, the ridiculously low standard of English had been apparently OK for those responsible for the botched up job in the first place. Scary that they thought nothing of blindly using Google translate and may not have seen anything wrong with the results.

Then again, the standard of English in the mainstream media has been dropping also. More and more errors creeping in, and apparently nothing done to arrest the slide.

Rakyat said...

This goes to show two things:
(1)either their english language is very poor,
or (2) they laziness to check properly the translations under the thought that the google translation will be perfect one.
Is this the quality of govt servants we are having now?

Anonymous said...

Thank You, NEP.

Anonymous said...

Brother, English hahaha... who cares but professional fees yes he cares.
THE REST THEY DON'T BOTHER and don't be surprised they don't even know how to defend this nation and you bet ask them where is the defence policy?
When was it debated or people in MINDEF just syok sendiri and no wonder- beli ikut suka hati.

Anonymous said...

Government can not feel embarass when they can't understand/ bother to take notice that the level of proficiency on their language translation work is a reflection of their committment on excellence from their employees, and having the skill to comprehend foreign language thoroughly, not just as simple as base solely on Google translation software as they wish.